The National Native Scholarships Providers (NNSP) recently released its first National Study on College Affordability for Indigenous Students. The report, which was funded by Lumina Foundation, found that the main obstacle to completing college for Native students is affordability.
The report is the result of a collaboration between the nation’s four Native scholarship providers: the American Indian College Fund, the Cobell Scholarship, the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, and Native Forward Scholars Fund. According to Sarah EchoHawk, CEO of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), “This information not only allows AISES to better support our students’ financial needs, but it also provides deeper context to our overall mission goals as an organization. The collaborative efforts with the other National Native Scholarship Providers are truly remarkable in terms of the impact this work will have on our Indigenous students in Indian Country.”
Only 36.2% of Indigenous students entering four-year institutions of higher education in 2014 completed their degrees in six years, as compared to 60% of all other undergraduate students in the U.S. The researchers’ goal in the study was to begin to understand the college experiences of Native students, their families, communities, Tribes, as well as how they viewed the promise of a post-secondary education—and how these factors played a role in navigating college affordability. According to Arizona State University faculty member and Indigenous scholar Amanda Tachine, “Family connections are critical for Native student persistence, yet families’ voices are absent in research.”
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